Why do preachers do what they do? It may seem to be a simple question; one that doesn’t even need to be asked. But then Rick Warren made this statement recently:
“The biggest mistake people make is that we think that sermons will produce spiritual maturity.”
If that’s true, then why do we preach? Why do pastors preach week in and week out? What’s the point of it all?
I have posted below a clip from a radio show where the clip is actually played and some context is given to the quote. But the context doesn’t lessen the meaning of the quote. Based on (in my opinion) bad statistics, Warren really believes that preaching doesn’t produce spiritual maturity. I am not a Rick Warren hater. I think he is wrong on some things and I wouldn’t do everything that he does, but no one is perfect – including me!
But this is about the worst thing that could have come out of the man’s mouth! What will the thousands of pastors that look to Warren for guidance in ministry make of this? Will they see it for the anti-biblical belief that is? Or will they believe it and stop taking their preaching seriously?
So why do I spend hours in sermon preparation each week? Why do I study the Bible like I’m mining for treasure? Why do read books on preaching? On how to teach the Bible in various setting? Because, contrary to Warren, the Bible says preaching does produce spiritual maturity.
In Ephesians 4, Paul says, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Paul says God’s plan for growing his people is through preaching and teaching. You cannot get any more clear than that.
So, brothers, when you step into the pulpit this Sunday and begin to preach the sermon you’ve labored over this week, ask the Lord to fill you with his Spirit and preach with passion and power. Preach like a dying man to dying men because it is the very Word of God that you preach. The word which is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The Word which is “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” The Word that washes clean the bride of Christ that she may be faultless on the day of his return. The Word which draws men and women to Christ that they might have forgiveness of sins and joy in God. Brothers, that is why we preach!
HT: Erik Raymond